by Mitch Perry
CL looks forward to hearing from GOP Congressman Bill Young at a Tiger Bay Club event next Friday, where he'll speak a month after he was re-elected to a 22nd term representing Pinellas County.
Politico reports that Washington Democrats have identified Young - who turns 82 next month - one of the top four most vulnerable Republicans they're targeting in the 2014 congressional elections.
To which we say - we've heard that a few times before.
It certainly makes sense for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to circle Florida's 13th Congressional District as one that they might be able to swing, considering that Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by more than 5.5 percentage points in Pinellas on November 6. But Young beat out his Democratic challenger Jessica Ehrlich by 16 percentage points, 58-42 on that same ballot. That's a shellacking anyway you look at it, though Democrats have been down so long that looks up to them, as that was the second best result anyone from their party has performed against the Indian Shores Republican since he began running in 1970, and only the second time he's been held below 60 percent of the total vote.
How long Young will want to keep serving in Congress is the question. And it's not unfair to say that when he does leave, the Democrats will have a strong chance of capturing the seat, based on the demographics of the district. But as far too many pundits have learned over the years, that time may still be a long time from now.
In other news, isn't it a bit ridiculous to be focusing on the 2014 elections right now? Not really. Hillsborough County School board member April Griffin told us earlier this week that because the perception is nobody wants to talk politics she'll refrain until talking about her next election bid - until January - when she'll officially announce she's running for county commission for the district 7 seat that will be vacated by Mark Sharpe.
Apparently Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi didn't get the memo that now that the election is over, "Obamacare" isn't going away. Though she continues to attack the law, Florida health care advocates say too much inattention to it by state leaders means we won't be ready to implement the exchanges when they become the law of the land in 2014.
And in the wake of another death this week in the Tampa Bay area due to a driver texting at the time, it's no better time to look at not only potential legislation dealing with this issue here in Florida, but how we can seriously try to address the issues of distracted driving that plague most of us. Check out our cover story on this issue in this week's CL.